The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys lacrosse team is in a much different position from a year ago in terms of its number of seniors.

The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys lacrosse team is in a much different position from a year ago in terms of its number of seniors.

"It seems like there's about a thousand of them," coach Brett Dillon said.

The Lions, who had just two seniors a year ago, have nine seniors this year and have experienced players at nearly every spot on the field.

Their strength could be at attacker, where senior twins and Wittenberg University recruits Andrew and Thomas Fuss return. Thomas scored four goals and Andrew had three in a 14-11 loss to Westerville South in the opening round of the Division I Central Region tournament last year.

Senior Sean Moser is back at midfielder and is "arguably our best athlete," according to Dillon.

Junior midfielder Nate Strong also should be a key contributor on offense.

Gahanna finished 7-9 overall a year ago and begins its fifth season under Dillon on Friday, March 23, at home against Westerville South.

"Andrew Fuss and Thomas Fuss have been our leading points guys and they're real excited to finish their last year of high school strong," Dillon said. "We're still sorting out who our third attacker is going to be, but Sean Moser at midfielder is kind of our unsung hero. He doesn't get a lot of points, but if you awarded assists on the second and third passes, he'd probably lead our team. And this will be Nate Strong's third year as a starting varsity player. He has a real nose for getting his hands free."

Others looking to contribute offensively are senior Mitch Moore, junior Will Bradshaw and sophomores Chris Hopper and Kyle Johnson. Bradshaw likely will do faceoffs.

Junior Collin Blaney is "probably the best defensive player to come through Gahanna," according to Dillon.

He will be joined on defense by seniors Nate Hengstebeck and Nick Vourvopoulos as long-stick midfielders, with senior Mike Wilson likely starting at goalkeeper.

Andrew Fuss and junior David Despas are recovering from injuries.

Last season, Gahanna tied Olentangy Orange for sixth in the OCC-Ohio Division at 1-5, behind Olentangy Liberty (5-0), Olentangy (5-1), New Albany (4-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3) and Hilliard Bradley (2-4). A game between Liberty and Darby was not played.

Ian Renda and Andrew Winters were the only seniors last year. Senior Tyler Grassman, who was a key player a year ago, is not back with the team after signing a letter of intent in February to play football for the University at Buffalo.

Gahanna remains in the Division I Central Region, where it is joined by Dublin Coffman, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North, St. Charles, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington, Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South and Worthington Kilbourne.

"This is probably the best team on a whole that we've had," Dillon said. "We've got more depth in the midfield and we've got really solid senior leadership. They've all taken a lot of ownership on the practice field."

Large group of returnees to bolster girls team

The girls team also expects to have a strong season after losing just two seniors.

The Lions open April 3 at Orange.

"We have so many girls that we're able to have a junior varsity and a varsity team, and our (varsity) team is just outstanding," second-year coach Brooke Eisenacher said. "We've got a lot of returnees and a lot of skills."

Last season, the Lions went 11-7 overall and placed second in the OCC-Central at 6-1, behind Pickerington North (6-0) and ahead of Westerville North (3-2), Westerville South (3-2), Westerville Central (2-4-1), Big Walnut (1-4-1), Delaware (0-4-1) and Pickerington Central (0-4-1).

Leading a five-member senior class is midfielder Alyssa Rapelje, who had 44 goals and was named the team's Most Valuable Player last season. She has committed to play for Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.

Junior Anna Tarbutton is back after scoring 65 goals and receiving the team's Best Attacker award, but she is expected to see time at midfielder this season.

Also looking to contribute at midfielder are senior Tiffany Chen, juniors Bianca Brucovski and Bre Moser, sophomore Cara Caldwell and freshman Erica Rapelje.

Junior Kelsey Francis scored 24 goals last season and will be joined at attacker by senior Grace Clark and junior Emily Resch.

Junior Maggie Maley, who was named the team's Best Defender a year ago, will be joined on defense by seniors Emily Fithen and Elisabeth Storhaug and juniors Taylor Kulow and Becca Scowden.

Expected to play goalkeeper are freshmen Kandace Glanville and Amanda Sorrell.

Gahanna's only seniors last year were Nichole Binkoski and Dani Merz, who split time in goal. Binkoski is attending Ohio State and is a volunteer goalkeeper coach with the Lions.

Binkoski, Alyssa Rapelje and Tarbutton each made first-team all-league last season, while Maley and Moser made second team and Chen was honorable mention. Alyssa Rapelje was first-team all-district and all-state, Tarbutton was second-team all-district and Binkoski was honorable mention all-district.

Gahanna opened the club state tournament last year with a 17-13 win over Beachwood but lost to North Canton Hoover 17-6 in a regional final. The Lions are in the club division again this season.

"These girls are at such a higher level than they were at last year and they're working so hard," Eisenacher said.